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In 2012, my family and I packed up our bags and moved overseas permanently. By permanently, I mean we obtained visas as Permanent Residents in a brand new country – the United Arab Emirates. My husband’s work meant that we were to reside in Dubai and in 2015, we still call this place our second home.




You always miss home. You always get a pang when family back home are doing something fun and nostalgia runs wild when loneliness is rife (usually during holiday season and kids hitting a certain milestone. Photos also trigger tears).


There are also times that you will feel like a foreigner, especially when you asked for tomato sauce or when people snicker at your use of the term ‘thongs’. However, there are 5 main reasons to counter-argue any depressing feelings you might have when you move abroad.


1/ Making friends.


Especially in a transient place like Dubai, you will master the skill of making new friends and saying goodbye to friends. Ofcourse with meeting new friends comes learning new things and experiencing different cultures. My friends nationalities range and I have met people from every single continent in one birthday party event. Do you realise how large the world is? You won’t, until you leave Australia and move abroad.




2/ You will learn about the literal meaning of unpacking your bags.


This is a big statement, I know, but it’s valid. In my first year away, I waited for happiness to come and knock on my door. I was in a brand new place, with magical opportunities at my doorstep. You would think joy would rain on me, right? Wrong.


I realised that the moving part wasn’t the hard element. I needed to get outside of my box and start living. I needed to put my old life behind me and start this new chapter. Old habits die hard, but I kid you not, they do diminish. I order with an American accent (no one understands Aussies) and I love the monarchy here. Crazy, I know.


It took me nine months before I purchased my first pot plant and it was then I realised that I kept worrying about not staying here. I kept wondering about when we would pack up and move. I made the choice to embrace the new opportunities that lay in front of me and put my Australian life on the shelf.



3 years later......

To a new beginning

To a new beginning


<—- The plant today.







3/ You will have a TON of time to spend with you spouse/partner and children.


This is especially the case if back home you had to divide your time amongst 497 extended family members. When we first arrived, we just stared at each other and thought “HOW MUCH TIME!!!” So, we did things we never would have managed too. We took the kids to the desert for a picnic, we travelled (see next point), we played board games every single night for a year, we hung up the phone every evening (due to time difference) and we were free.


Eid mornings were pretty special – the children were able to come with us to the mosque and were able to open their gifts quietly and play with them.


As for marriage/relationship, it is an incredible booster. It doesn’t get monotonous, don’t worry. You begin to appreciate your partner because they become the foundation to your life. It’s deep.



4/ Travel.

Being in the middle of the world (and not the bottom) is INCREDIBLE for your travel desires. My 10 year old son’s passport is pretty impressive and I am proud to have ventured to places I could only have dreamed off.


In our second year of living in Dubai, we decided to Road Trip around the UAE. Before you scoff at the small size of the country, you cannot put into words how it feels to jump into a wadi surrounded by caves, camp on a beach or meet remote Bedouins.


In 2014, we trekked through 5 European countries and with 3 kids it was quite a feat. I will never forget riding our bikes past the Amsterdam Canals and picking up Danish scrolls in Copenhagen. There was the time we were stranded in Sweden, stuck in a massive rainstorm without shelter. Or the time we felt heaven on earth at Huvafen Fushi in the Maldives. Did I mention how cheap tickets are over here?

The lines that outline Dubai.21012015_image5_R2150 The beach


5/ The value of family.


Being far makes you softer, your edges become less jagged and it’s marvelous therapy for a frazzled mum-of-3 (me) and a corporate junkie (hubby). We stopped groaning when our mothers called, and realised the importance of hearing about small, bizarre stories of childhood our fathers retold us. We prayed for Skype calls like someone prays for the lottery and when we receive a photo of family, we dissect it like we are in a laboratory.

dubai camel


If the opportunity arises, go for it.

  • Where we live
    Where we live

Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike playdates?

Don’t get me wrong – I love play and dates (the food and the adjective) as 2 separate words, but I do not have any appreciation for the hipster term “playdate”. Since when is it cool to set up an organised date for 2 kids or more to….. PLAY.

Everyone who knows me well knows how much I dread homework time here in Dubai. They give kids a truck load of homework, and especially more so when there is a school inspection coming up (which isn’t a total surprise because the school gets told when the secret inspection is going to occur. Go figure.)

And now that my little girl is in Grade 1, it seems like my homework schedule has quadrupled and I almost cried. Excpet I couldn’t fully cry because I maintain a “we love homework” policy in my household. *sigh*

So today, these were things that crossed my mind (in THIS EXACT order).


Mary was 15 when she got married. She came from a strict Christian family and knew her husband for less than 6 months when she married him. He was a very big, sturdy man. He was a Lieutenent in the local police station (apparently a very hot shot job). She tells me, that she loved him when she married him. Who knows love at 15?

She bore him 2 children, a girl first and a son next. But when her son was a baby, he convinced her to apply through an agency and work overseas. For money, he told her. He also said that he would look after the children, and her parents needed to help him too. She reluctantly agreed, apparently telling me that it was “a lot hard, a lot” to leave her children.

The agency found her a job in Kuwait, and she told me it was a tough job. The lady was mean and her teenage children were rude and spoilt. She stayed there for nearly 2 years. Then one day, she was out of a job and had a ticket back to the Philipines. She was so excited.

Arriving home, she found her husband had a whole other life with a new woman. She was raging mad and told him that it was over. The very next day he had taken the kids and fled.

Being an important figure in the city she came from, she was powerless. After several months and lots of tears, he negotiates with her that he will “give back” their daughter, but he is keeping their son. Full stop.

Soon enough, her lifestyle deteriorated, gossip in the town was rife and she had no income. The money she had been sending from her time in Kuwait was no where to be seen.

So, like a vicious cycle for the need of money, Mary re-applies to the agency and fast forward a month or so later and she walks into my apartment with the 2 other women that I interviewed.

My mind was racing. Full of questions. Why didn’t she fight harder? Why did she accept this situation? Why didn’t she find a lawyer? Why didn’t she know that the money she was sending was not being saved? Why didnt she suspect anything when she was away?

I was mad. Mad at this guy. Mad at the unfairness in world. Mad at the poverty happening in the world. And mad for Mary. For sweet Mary, who has not seen her son for nearly a year.

But all of this is out of my control. What I can control is what happens in my home and the small joys I can give her. And I remember an important quote I once read:

The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.”

~~ Frederick Buechner ~~

Till next time,

Be good!